Rocking the Holidays
The holidays are a magical and inspiring time of year. The weather is changing. We are spending time with friends and family and practicing the art of giving. Unfortunately, this time of year can also ratchet up stress, financial debt, and depression. Here are 10 + 4 bonus ideas and practices for a healthy mind, body, and spirit this holiday season.
Edit that to-do list.
You do you! If you hate baking, then don’t bake. I deleted a few tasks from my list including Christmas letters. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love getting Christmas cards and letters in the mail. But when I took a look at how much sending out cards was costing me mentally and financially I happily decided not to do them. I might start some year again, but until then cards are crossed off of my list with zero guilt. Edit your to-do-list so that it aligns with your personal priorities.
Supplement with CBD.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in hemp. It has been found to aid in the alleviation of stress and anxiety. This hemp extract actually works as an adaptogen and helps the body's systems find balance. CBD from hemp is safe, non-habit-forming, does not produce a "high", and is legal. The great thing about CBD is that is doesn't come with any of the unsavory side effects of pharmaceutical antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs. In fact you body is designed to take up CBD and is likely deficient in it. See my CBD page for more info.
Instead of succumbing to conspicuous consumption, consumerism, and creating debt this year try giving differently. Give your time by spending it with those that matter to you. Volunteer for a charity alone or as a family. Do crafts or bake with family or friends and then use the handmade items as gifts. Instead of that new video game gift your kids a family trip. They will cherish the memories for far longer than they would anything you can buy at the mall. The point is to give from the heart and with the heart. Do not give what you think society wants you to be giving just for the sake of conforming.
Practice belly breathing to calm down the stress hormones. It is simple, free, and effective!
I like the 5-5-5 method. Directions:
Breath slowly into your belly for the count of 5 while expanding your stomach out. Hold this breath in for the count of 5. Release this breath slowly for the count of 5 as your belly naturally compresses inward. Repeat 7 times or as desired.
Feed your body.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive and immune systems. They have also been found to benefit serotonin levels! You can consume probiotics in supplements and foods. Foods with live cultures tend to have greater numbers of probiotics so add these to your diet:
Kefir, yogurt, kombucha, live sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Adaptogens are natural substances that work with a person’s body and help them adapt; most notably, to stress. Adaptogens are a natural ally in dealing with persistent stress and fatigue because they work with regulating crucial hormones.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, fall is associated with the lungs and skin. Foods that support these organs are warm soups, stews, broths, steamed veggies, teas, and salt. It is harder for your body to digest raw foods this time of year. Moist warmed foods are optimal. Spicy lentil soup and Chai Tea are two of my favorites this time of year.
Try to incorporate warming herbs into your diet as often as possible. It’s not hard since we are naturally drawn to these delicious herbs this time of year. Garlic, turmeric, clove, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, and black pepper are all warming spices. You can incorporate them into your cooking or take them as supplements in capsules.
Protect your body.
Thieves® essential oil is a powerful combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils for an aromatic blend that fills any space with a rich, spicy aroma. Inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a unique aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals used while robbing the dead and dying. Thieves is one of Young Living’s most popular products.
I make sure that I have Young Living’s Thieves blend on hand to apply to the bottoms of feet if a cold is coming on. I like to diffuse cinnamon, balsam and orange oils in my home because it smells lovely and cleanses the air. I also keep eucalyptus or a blend that contains eucalyptus such as Young Living's Breath Again to help with respiratory congestion. For more information on Young Living's therapeutic-grade essential oils click here.
With the benefits of Thieves oil including cleaning power and an irresistibly spicy scent, Young Living offers it as an essential oil blend and as a critical ingredient in a full range of home cleaning and personal care products, from dish soap to toothpaste. Looking to make your home smell as clean as it looks? Diffuse Thieves oil throughout the house for an aroma that makes every room smell more like fall baking than harsh cleaning formulas.
Warming, spicy, resinous, woody essential oils are supportive this time of year. These include; Allspice, Anise, Balsam, Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Carrot Seed, Cassia, Cedarwood, Oregano, Cinnamon, Clove Bud, Sage, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Frankincense, Galbanum, Ginger, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Patchouli, Rosemary, Rosewood, Clary Sage, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Mint, Peppermint, White Camphor and Eucalyptus.
Move your body.
All yoga is going to benefit your stress levels, but Yin Yoga is great for this time of year. It helps you become more mindful of how you are feeling physically and mentally.
Find an online Yin Yoga video or a live class near you! Your deepened connection with your body and emotions facilitate a higher level of wellness than most of us even knew we could obtain.
If you believe in a higher power, as I do, prayer can be an amazingly powerful tool. You can be specific or general in your prayers. Pray of others, pray for health, abundance, guidance, wisdom, and protection.
Meditation is ancient wisdom. For as long as humans have been alive there has been a need to quiet the “monkey mind.” Meditation is perfect after a workout, especially yoga. Exercise gets the mind in the now. It is easier to get the body to sit still and center after physical activity.
Find 10 things that you are grateful for every day and write them down in a notebook. This exercise retrains your mind to always to be looking out for things to be grateful for. This improves mood and attracts more good things into your life.
Reflect and let go.
This is the time of year the veil between worlds is thin. In TCM, autumn is associated with grief. It is a time for us to acknowledge those that have passed before us. Feel your grief and sadness and then release it. By honoring our ancestors as well as our own past, we can say goodbye and move forward in our lives.
As the trees let go of their leaves, we to need to let go of things and people in our lives that no longer serve our highest good and in doing so honor the role they played in our journey. By doing this, we make room in our life for the gifts of the coming new year.
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